Photo Courtesy of Tiffany Estes
Jennifer and Micha Cameron-Lattek took a chance on Astoria when they moved from Berlin to take over Street 14 Coffee two years ago.
And the community’s taken a chance on the Cameron-Latteks, so far giving more than $12,000 in no-interest loans through Community Sourced Capital, an online loaning platform.
The Cameron-Latteks are trying to raise up to $25,000 through the loan program to add a full-service kitchen and prep area, along with a coffee bar area in the former CoCommercial and Betty Lou Jean Co. storefront at 1412 Commercial St., next to their shop. Street 14 is on the corner of 14th and Commercial streets, adjacent to the Commodore Hotel lobby.
They’ve received the loans from nearly 100 different people as of Wednesday, about 70 percent of them local, said Micha. Reaching their $10,000 minimum goal activated a $5,000 match from Evergreen Business Capital. The campaign closes Dec. 28.
Repayments of loans are paid through Community Sourced Capital based on a percentage of monthly revenue and are scheduled to be repaid within three years.
When they took over Street 14 Coffee in November 2012, the Cameron-Latteks had four employees. Business grew, and so did the staff, now at 14 employees; however, they can often feel cramped behind the coffee counter, where they serve customers and prepare all the food and beverages.
Micha said people have fallen in love with Street 14’s food, which can make it a very hectic place. The shop stays open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Employees come as early as 4 a.m. and leave as late as 8 p.m., and the Cameron-Latteks add that they still work 60 to 70 hours a week.
“The volume we’re doing with what we have is mind-boggling,” said Jennifer, adding that the coffee shop’s been maxed out several times, with lines and longer waits for food. “There’s every reason to expect that next summer will be more lively than this summer.”
The Cameron-Latteks are in the process of hiring a chef to run a restaurant cafe offering locally and sustainably sourced meals later into the evening. They expect it will ultimately add three to five additional employees to their workforce. Planning on the restaurant will start in early 2015, after the capital campaign ends.
“If we have a prep space over here (at the CoCommercial storefront), the show can go on over there,” said Micha, adding that they hope to punch a doorway from the existing Street 14 to the new space, which will include a coffee bar and the long-awaited pour-over station with samplings of coffees from around the world.
Street 14 Coffee is the first such Community Sourced Capital project in Astoria. The Cameron-Latteks said they learned of the program from the owners of Starvation Alley Farms in Long Beach, Wash., which used $12,000 in loans in 2013 to finance a new industrial juicer.
Other businesses in Pacific (Wash.) have used the platform, including The Adrift Hotel, which used $16,800 earlier this year to add solar panels. The hotel used another loan of $18,450 in July 2013, which it’s already repaid, to finance a solar hot water system. Round 2 Design in Long Beach used $8,450 in October to finance expansion into a commercial and residential line of lighting, textiles and unique goods for retail purchase. Madeline Dickerson, owner of Pink Poppy Bakery in Long Beach, used $3,000 in 2012 to outfit a new convection oven for the bakery’s first storefront. She’s also repaid her investors.
Jennifer said she and Micha liked the idea of people giving a contribution but getting paid back, hoping they’ll keep investing in other local businesses. “I really like CSC’s motto, ‘Fund the world you want to live in.’”
To find more information about Street 14 Coffee’s Community Sourced Capital campaign or to invest, visit http://tinyurl.com/Street14CSC